This is my Fight for Justice
In May 2012, I filed a lawsuit against the government of Kosovo, seeking justice and accountability for his actions. Two days later, I was forced to flee the country, after threats were made on my life.
In April 2015, while I was in London attending a conference, my home was raided by as described by my family “armed plainclothes people” once again. Concerned for my safety, my family advised me not to return.
On a fateful day in January of 2012, while capturing the tumultuous protest scene at the southeastern border of Kosovo, a police officer’s elbow struck me with such brutal force that I lost consciousness. This act of aggression was the catalyst for a prolonged, arduous battle for justice and accountability against the government of Kosovo.
In May of that same year, I took legal action against the accused, only to find myself fleeing the country two days later, as my life was threatened by unknown entities. A harrowing ordeal, to say the least.
Fast forward to April 2015, while attending a conference in London, I received word that my family home had been raided by “armed plainclothes people,” leaving me no choice but to stay put for fear of my safety.
For years, I sought asylum in various countries to no avail, until December of 2016 when, with the unwavering support of Amnesty International, I was granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK. A glimmer of hope in a long and gruelling journey.
As I reflect on the 10th anniversary of my pursuit of justice on May 14th, and the decade that has passed since my initial flight for safety on May 16th, I am reminded that the future remains uncertain. But one thing is clear: I will not relent in my quest for truth and accountability.
As a journalist investigating allegations of organized crime involvement within the police force of Kosovo’s Gjilan region, I never expected to become a victim of the very corruption I was investigating.
Trial without end
But that’s exactly what happened when Faruk Ibrahimi, the personal driver of the police commander, attacked me in an attempt on my life. The threats that followed from the commander’s husband made it clear that they intended to silence me and prevent me from exposing their illicit activities.
The aftermath of the attack was a long and arduous journey through the Kosovo court system. In September 2015, the Municipal Court acknowledged that I had suffered physical and psychological harm, but failed to recognize that my human rights had been violated. Despite my best efforts to seek justice, I found myself stuck in a trial without end. Frustrated with the lack of progress, I took my case to the Court of Appeal in November 2015.
Finally, on 16 November 2021, the Court of Appeal overturned the Municipal Court’s ruling and ordered a rehearing of the case. While this was a small step towards justice, it was a reminder of the immense challenges that journalists face in Kosovo. The country’s media environment is plagued by political interference, rampant corruption, and financial control by organized crime syndicates that have had a stranglehold on the country for over two decades.
As a journalist, I firmly believe in the importance of exposing corruption and holding those in power accountable. But my experience in Kosovo has shown me just how difficult that can be. The journey to justice has been long and painful, but I will continue to fight for the truth, no matter the obstacles in my path.
Unsilenced Voices: Challenging Kosovo's Media Crisis
Kosovo’s media landscape is plagued by a toxic mixture of political meddling, pervasive corruption, and financial domination by organized crime syndicates that held sway over the nation for over two decades. Those brave journalists who dare to speak out against the authorities find themselves branded as “traitors,” “spies,” “Serb sympathizers,” or simply “fools.” Tragically, at least eight such journalists have been slain in the line of duty, with no one held accountable for their untimely deaths. In a horrific incident from 2004, an intrepid investigative journalist by the name of Fatmire Terdeci was shot in the shoulder while she was carrying a child.
As I sit in my temporary exile, far from the land I love, my heart aches for the state of journalism in Kosovo. The media landscape is plagued by corruption, political meddling, and the pervasive influence of organized crime syndicates that looted the country for two decades. Journalists who dared to speak truth to power were branded as “traitors,” “spies,” and worse. And tragically, eight of my colleagues have paid the ultimate price for their bravery, their voices silenced forever.
But I refuse to be silenced. I am that lone journalist who has emerged, determined to hold the Kosovan authorities accountable for their failure to ensure a safe working environment for the press. And yet, I find myself standing alone. The National Association of Journalists has chosen to keep silent, leaving me to fight this battle on my own.
I believe that I may be the first journalist to bring a lawsuit against the government for its dereliction of duty. It is unacceptable that journalists should be forced into exile or worse, simply for doing their job. And so, I am determined to hold the powers that be accountable for their failure to protect the press.
It is not an easy road ahead. But I take comfort in the knowledge that I am not alone in my fight. There are others, both within Kosovo and beyond, who believe in the power of a free and independent press. And together, we will continue to shine a light on the injustices that threaten the very fabric of our society.